A teacher and officials at Evergreen Middle School in Evergreen, Colorado have come under fire for allowing young representatives of an environmental group to perform a rap critical of the petroleum extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”
Twelve-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his brother, nine-year-old Itzcuauhtl, performed the song at the invitation of a teacher, who learned about the boys' environmental organization, Earth Guardians, through a documentary.
The song included lyrics such as “poisoned the water, poisoned the air, poisoned the people, do you think that's fair?" and "When I say what the, you say frack. What the... frack, what the... frack."
Some parents and community members complained about the presentation, characterizing it as “liberal indoctrination.”
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Principal Kristopher Schuhtold stated, “Thank you for quickly bringing your valid concerns to my attention. I will continue to presume positive intentions as I meet with our teacher tomorrow to discuss what transpired and ensure that the opposite side of this issue is being clearly and fairly represented. I will also begin a thorough review of the process of vetting a speaker before they are allowed to present to our students.”
The school district says it intends to distribute “pro-oil and gas literature” to counterbalance the presentation.
Hydraulic fracturing uses pressurized liquid to release petroleum and natural gas from layers of rock. Critics contend that fracking increases ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and raised atmospheric CO2 levels.
Earth Guardians identifies itself as a "dedicated group of children, youth, parents, schools, and organizations working together on behalf of leaving a better world for future generations."